Airways Fined For Violating DOT Price Advertising Rules
By Eddy Metcalf
June 3, 2011 - In separate cases, the U.S. Department of
Transportation (DOT) assessed civil penalties against
Continental Airlines and US Airways for violating the
Department’s rules prohibiting deceptive price
advertising in air travel. Continental was assessed a
civil penalty of $120,000 and US Airways $45,000.
“Protecting the rights of airline consumers is a high
priority for the Department of Transportation,” U.S.
Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said. “Passengers
have the right to know how much they will have to pay
when they buy an airline ticket, and we will continue to
take enforcement action when these rules are violated.”
DOT requires any advertising that includes a price for air transportation to state the full price to be paid by the consumer, including all carrier-imposed surcharges. The only exception currently allowed is government-imposed taxes and fees that are assessed on a per-passenger basis, such as passenger facility charges, which may be stated separately from the advertised fare but must be clearly disclosed in the advertisement so that passengers can easily determine the full price they must pay.
Internet listings, these taxes and fees may be disclosed through
a prominent link next to the stated fare noting that taxes and
fees are extra, and the link must take the consumer directly to
a listing of the type and amount of taxes.
Under DOT’s recently adopted consumer rule that enhances
protections for air travelers, carriers will be required, among
other things, to include all government taxes and fees in
advertised fares beginning Oct. 24.
of Continental’s website by the Department’s Aviation
Enforcement Office revealed instances in which the carrier
failed to include fuel surcharges in its listed fares.
Consumers selecting flights from their nearest airport
were shown a base fare that excluded fuel surcharges, and it was
only on the third page selected that they were shown the full
fare including the surcharge, which often was significantly
example, a fare from San Jose, Calif., to San Salvador, El
Salvador, was shown as $298 on the first two pages, but was
listed as $538 once the fuel surcharge was added on the third
|©AvStop Online Magazine Contact Us Return To News|